Defense

Amid crisis, CIA chief goes on defense

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The head of the CIA harkened back to the time after 9/11 to defend his agency on Thursday, days after the release of a scathing Senate report that has sent the spy office reeling.

CIA Director John Brennan began his unprecedented press conference on Thursday with a detailed description harkening back to the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, as a reminder of the environment that led the CIA to engage in brutal interrogation techniques that have been called torture.

{mosads}“In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, our nation ached, it cried and it prayed,” he said “Never again, we vowed. Never again.”

“In many respects … we were not prepared,” Brennan said. “But the president authorized the effort six days after 9/11 and it was our job to carry it out.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report released Tuesday concluded that the CIA misled President Bush as well as its overseers in Congress while waterboarding detainees and subjecting them to other “enhanced interrogation” techniques such as sleep deprivation. Those tactics, which many consider to be torture, did not help in the fight against terrorists, the report asserted.

In addition to the contents of the report, the CIA has been harshly criticized for stonewalling senators and congressional staff putting the analysis together. At one point, a handful of CIA officials broke into Senate computers through a portal used to share documents.

In his remarks Thursday, Brennan called the production of the review “flawed,” though many of the conclusions are “consistent” with the agency’s own findings. 

Tags Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan torture report
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